second-in-command of the Cuban army of independence.
Commonly known as "the Titan of Bronze," Maceo
was one of the outstanding guerrilla leaders in nineteenth
century Latin America, easily comparable to José
Antonio Páez of Venezuela. The son of a Venezuelan
mulatto and Afro-Cuban woman, Maceo began his fight for Cuban liberation by
enlisting as a private in the army in 1868 when the
Ten Years War began.
years later, he was promoted to the rank of general because of his
bravery and his demonstrated ability to outmaneuver the Spanish
army. In 1878 when most of the Cuban generals believed that their
armies could not defeat the Spaniards, Maceo refused to surrender
without winning Cuban independence and the abolition of slavery.
he was forced to leave Cuba. He returned to Cuba when war with Spain
began again. His most famous campaign in the War of Cuban liberation
was his invasion of western Cuba when his troops, mostly Afro-Cubans
on horseback, covered more than 1,000 miles in 92 days and fought
the enemy in 27 separate encounters. Spanish general Valeriano Weyler
pursued him vigorously if only to curtail Maceo's destruction of
the Cuban sugar industry. On December 7, 1896 Maceo was captured
and killed as he attempted to rejoin Maximo Gómez' forces.
His death prompted yet another congressional resolution for belligerent
rights for Cuba.
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